Why is the trial happening?
Few treatments are known to work in treating COVID-19, and there are some existing treatments that may be effective in treating COVID-19. The ASCOT trial aims to discover which treatments are most effective.
What treatments will be available in the trial?
All patients will receive the best standard of care available at their hospital. In addition, the study is currently trialling the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. Individuals who recover from COVID-19 develop natural defences to the disease in their blood (called antibodies). Antibodies are found in the part of the blood called plasma. Plasma collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 (called convalescent plasma) will contain antibodies directed against the virus that causes COVID-19. Transfusing convalescent plasma may help patients who are unwell with the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The study aims to find out whether this type of treatment is effective and safe.
You can find more information about convalescent plasma, including how to donate if you have recovered from COVID-19, on the Lifeblood website.
What will the study involve?
All participants will receive standard supportive therapy chosen by their doctor. This includes close monitoring, and treatments such as inhaled oxygen if needed.
Patients will be randomly allocated by a computer (like drawing straws) to one of the treatment groups, or to receive standard supportive therapy.
The study will collect some information that is recorded as part of normal care – like medical history, temperature and oxygen levels, and any chest X-rays and blood tests.
If participants are discharged from hospital, the study will follow up patients for up to 90 days. They will be contacted at home to see how they are going, or the study will contact their GP.
What are the benefits of taking part?
This research will improve our knowledge of how to treat COVID-19 and may improve the care of patients with COVID-19 in Australia, New Zealand and across the world.
Participants in the trial may or may not benefit from the treatment they receive in this study.
A benefit of taking part is that participants will receive additional testing and monitoring of their condition, which may on its own contribute to an improved health outcome.
What are the possible risks and disadvantages of taking part?
Medical treatments often cause side effects. Participants may have no side effects, or some side effects that may be mild, moderate or severe. The study doctors will be looking out for side effects.
When will we know the results?
The trial aims to generate results quickly. After the trial begins, results will be continually analysed, so that treatments that don’t work can be stopped and new treatments can be trialled as part of the study.